In Japan, cut beef quality is usually referenced to the marbling content which is graded on a Beef Marbling Standard of No. 1 – 12, with No. 1 having practically no marbling to No. 12 being completely white with marbling. For rough comparison Canada A would be BMS No. 1, Canada AA would be BMS No.2, Canada AAA would be BMS No.3 and Canada Prime would be BMS No.4.
Unlike other Kobe Beef producers SRF’s economies of scale and ever expanding market development allow SRF to sell three grades of product that are each above USDA Prime and each within a narrow range so that customers consistently receive exactly what they expect. The three grades as determined at the 12th and 13th rib are classified as Silver (Retail or BMS 4 - 5), Black (Foodservice or BMS 6 -7) and Gold (Export or BMS 8 - 10).
Studies have indicated that Angus beef averages BMS of 2 but cannot achieve BMS greater than 5. On the other hand, Wagyu cattle averages BMS 4 – 6 but depending on quality of genetics, controlled feeding program and age at time of slaughter, can on very rare occasions reach the top grade of BMS 12. In Japan, for beef cuts to be considered of ‘Kobe’ quality, they must exhibit BMS of 6 or higher.